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ASNE Day 2016 - Technical Paper Session 1 : Wednesday, March 2, 2016 1400-1545

DEMATL & Energy Storage 


Author: Timothy J. McCoy

Title: Acquisition of Naval Power and Energy Systems: An Affordable, Flexible Approach


Historically, Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (H,M&E) systems for naval ships have been procured by the shipbuilding program office, either directly by the government program office or via the shipbuilder. This approach has worked well for decades as ‘ship systems’ are generally based on mature technology that does not change over the life of the ship. In contrast, combat systems typically require capability upgrades and/or become obsolete long before the ship has reached its design service life which has resulted in the emergence of acquisition strategies focused on making changes and updates to in-service ships easier. For a number of reasons, including the development and anticipated fielding of electric weapons, the US Navy is moving towards more electric warships featuring partial or full-electric propulsion as well as large amounts of energy storage. These new mission systems will require a very close coordination between the weapons themselves and the ship’s power generation, distribution, storage and heat removal systems. In fact, these ‘ship systems’ will become an integral part of the combat systems ‘kill chain’ in future ships.

The Navy is investigating a number of technologies and new power system architectures to meet the anticipated technical challenges and numerous papers have been published on the various technical challenges to be overcome. However, little attention has been paid to how these more dynamic ship systems will be procured and upgraded through the ship’s service life. In this paper, we examine a number of alternatives and will propose a viable procurement strategy for this new category of ‘combat support systems’ that will enable the Navy to realize its goals of achieving frequent, affordable combat system upgrades as described in the recently published Flexible Ships Roadmap.

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